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The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is the nation’s oldest international nonprofit working to build great places and walkable, vibrant neighborhoods. CNU will host its 28th annual Congress, CNU 28.Twin Cities, in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, MN June 10-13, 2020.
The Congress is the premier national placemaking event, convening 1500+ diverse, interdisciplinary urbanists and placemakers from all 50 states and around the globe to exchange ideas, explore urban places, work alongside residents, and learn in the field.
Congress programming is varied and accessible to urbanists and members of the public at any level of knowledge and understanding of New Urbanism. Click HERE to register.
What is New Urbanism?
New Urbanism is a planning and development approach based on the principles of how cities and towns had been built for the last several centuries: walkable blocks and streets, housing and shopping in close proximity, and accessible public spaces. In other words: New Urbanism focuses on human-scaled urban design.
The principles, articulated in the Charter of the New Urbanism, were developed to offer alternatives to the sprawling, single-use, low-density patterns typical of post-WWII development, which have been shown to inflict negative economic, health, and environmental impacts on communities.
These design and development principles can be applied to new development, urban infill and revitalization, and preservation. They can be applied to all scales of development in the full range of places including rural Main Streets, booming suburban areas, urban neighborhoods, dense city centers, and even entire regions. Read more HERE.
Core sessions are in-depth primers on the history, principles, tools, and concepts of New Urbanism, geared toward first-time Congress attendees or attendees who’d like to know the basics of a specific subject area. These one-hour sessions provide Congress participants with the opportunity to hear from founding members and experts on New Urbanism. Core sessions are presented as a daylong series of lectures and are open to any and all Congress participants.
202 Workshops are advanced learning courses led by thought leaders and innovative practitioners. These sessions include high-level instruction that goes beyond that of a typical breakout session. 202 Workshops are longer— typically lasting three to four hours—and more in-depth; they are geared toward professionals who already know the basics. These courses are much more personal than breakout sessions and are hands-on and interactive. All 202 Workshops incur an additional fee.
Plenary sessions bring the entire Congress together for a shared experience. They feature innovative and expert practitioners detailing the latest advances in urbanism.
Breakout sessions are concurrent sessions that take place throughout the Congress, organized around several tracks or themes. Breakout sessions make up the heart of Congress programming. Breakout offerings include sessions for first time attendees and seasoned New Urbanists alike, allowing you to create an agenda that suits you.
OPEN INNOVATION (OI)
In Open Innovation (OI), attendees present a series of seven-minute presentations clustered around loosely related topics. OI showcases the cutting-edge work of members and attendees covering a variety of topics from brand-new theories of urbanism still in the formation stage to completed projects available for critique.
CNU Forums are typically three-hour, deep-dive sessions that feature multiple speakers and perspectives on some of the most challenging urban issues of the day.
HOST CITY DAY
Whether the Twin Cities are new to you or very familiar, Host City Day programming will captivate you with a series of sessions on the Twin Cities' past, present, and future. The sessions will explore what Saint Paul and Minneapolis are famous for, and where the cities are leading and learning.
The CNU Art Room features up-close or hands-on workshops to help you hone your skills. Are you interested in learning design, sketching, illustration, photography, and other techniques from New Urbanism’s leading practitioners? Here’s your chance! Participants of all skill levels are welcome—no prior illustration or design experience is needed.
Led by CNU members, these typically 1-hour working meetings and discussions are meant to move an initiative, idea, or conversation forward. They are an excellent opportunity to get involved in shaping the work of the New Urbanism movement.
Guided tours are the best way to see New Urbanism in practice throughout the local host city/region. Most tours are ticketed events and require additional registration in advance. Tours vary by type and can include walking, biking, bus, or public transit. Space is limited. Early registration is strongly advised.
Meet-ups are open gatherings of Congress attendees outside of regular Congress programming. Meet Ups may be organized by CNU Chapters, partners, or affiliates and present an opportunity for attendees to meet new people, catch up with old friends, and enjoy our host cities.
The Next Generation of New Urbanists (commonly referred to as NextGen) is a fellowship within the Congress for the New Urbanism with three goals: to provide a forum for new participants, new ideas, and new voices; to function as a network that connects those interested in the advancement of New Urbanist theory and practice; and to establish an infrastructure outlasting any NextGen "member" that supports future leaders and provides a continual input of creative energy and new personalities into CNU. NextGen is diverse in professional practice, age, geographical origin, interests, experience, and background, welcoming students, emerging professionals, newcomers and longstanding members of the Congress of the New Urbanism alike.
Events of the CNU NextGen vary somewhat year-to-year, but typically include the annual pub crawl, debates, open space programming, and tactical interventions, to name a few.
The Congress Legacy Projects (CLP) are designed to apply CNU’s renowned placemaking expertise to “move the needle” on urban topics of concern in the Congress' host region. Municipalities, non-profits, and others submit proposals for low-bono advising from some of the best minds in placemaking and walkable places, and CNU facilities two to three-day visioning workshops prior to the Congress to address a community's needs. The work products vary by design team but generally consist of conceptual plans and renderings and context and best practice photographs. Results of the CNU 28.Twin Cities Legacy Project weekends will be presented at the Congress in June.
NEW URBAN RESEARCH
Since 2008, CNU has showcased innovative academic work at our annual Congress, offering select academics and researchers an opportunity to present their work. Learn more HERE.
The CNU Charter Awards ceremony recognizes exemplary work in architectural, landscape, urban, and regional design, as defined by the Charter of the New Urbanism. The Charter defines the essential qualities of walkable, sustainable places from the scale of the region down to the block and building. Launched in 2001, the CNU Charter Awards have honored projects from Andorra to South Africa, Beijing to San Antonio. Learn more about this year's awards, and past winners HERE.